Amidst Escalating Overdoses Portuguese Drug Czar to Visit New Jersey Highlighting Successes of Drug Decriminalization

October 29, 2018 (Asbury Park) – As New Jersey’s unrelenting overdose crisis continually increases, Dr. João Goulão, the Portuguese Drug Czar will be making stops in the Garden State detailing how his country’s drug decriminalization policy succeeded in greatly reducing overdose deaths and improving other health outcomes. The visit, orchestrated by New Jersey based NGO Help Not Handcuffs, Inc. in collaboration with numerous partners will include three public events.

Nearly twenty years ago while dealing with its own heroin epidemic, Portugal took the revolutionary action of decriminalizing all drugs in order to address drug use as a human rights and health issue. Since then Portugal has achieved a drug-induced death rate five times lower than the European Union average, a 95% reduction in drug-related HIV infections and lower adult drug use.In 2016 New Jersey experienced 2,221 overdoses to Portugal’s 27 despite having similar sized populations. New Jersey is projected to break 3,000 fatal overdoses in 2018.

“If you care about reducing overdoses while improving health and human rights, not attending is not an option, because Portugal’s policy achieved these goals while New Jersey’s policies continually fail our communities”, said Randy Thompson, CEO of Help Not Handcuffs, Inc.

The schedule of Portuguese Drug Czar, Dr. João Goulão’s appearances follow:

October 31st – “Drug Decriminalization: The Triumph of Health and Human Rights over the Drug War” Rutgers Law School – Newark Campus, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. 123 Washington St, Newark, NJ 07102 – Room 070….lunch will be provided. RSVP Mandatory to

November 2nd – “Symposium on Opioid Addiction” Rutgers School of Social Work – 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Alexander Library Pane Room 169 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901….RSVP Mandatory to

November 2nd – “Advocates Round Table with Mayor John B. Moor” Parlor Gallery – 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 717 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712…..Food and drink will be provided, RSVP to Mandatory for admission.

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